Mamie Till Mobley

"There was an important mission for me, to shape so many...young minds as a teacher. God took away one child but...(gave) me thousands. And I have been grateful for the blessing." Mamie Till Mobley

Friday, December 3, 2010

Commissioner Steiner erred in decision by accepting waiver request from Mayor instead of the Board of Education

The board of education of the city school district of the city of New York, a board of education, school board,  a Panel for Educational Policy,  the Education Policy Panel or the Mayor Bloomberg  rubber-stamp Education Policy Panel according to NYS Education Law is the body that should have requested the Commissioner of Education to issue a certificate to Cathie Black not the Mayor.
Thus, the formal request to Commissioner David Steiner for the issuance of a professional certificate  for Cathie Black  in order to comply with the procedures set up in the Law should have been submitted by this entity still "maintained" in the mayoral control laws the Legislature passed in 2002 and 2009.
NYS Education Law is clear as to what entity has the legal right to request the issuance of a professional certificate as a school district leader (superintendent of schools) to exceptionally qualified persons who do not meet all of the graduate course or school teaching requirements...)
In the case of NYC Schools under Mayoral control since 2002 and again extended in 2009,  prior to making the appointment( of chancellor) "the board must obtain the approval of the Commissioner.  In its formal request to the Department, the board must submit its resolution, noting approval of the request, the job description, its rational for requesting the certificate of the individual, etc.
The Education Policy Panel in replacing the board of education under mayoral control in 2002, still by law the Mayor  appoints eight and the borough presidents one each for a total number of thirteen members. Certainly, with a majority of the members appointed by the Mayor the request from this body should not present a problem for the Mayor, but it is through this entity the request for the issuance of a certificate has to be made. The Mayor still chooses, the procedure is only a matter of formality to comply with NYS Education law, but it is the procedure set up to request a certificate.

(S5887 and  A8903A)
 In August 6, 2009 by an Act to amend the education law, in relation to the New York City board of education, chancellor, amend chapter 91 of the laws of 2002...  
1. Section 2590-b
" 1. (a) The board of education of the city school district of the city of New York is hereby continued.  Such board of education shall;.. consist of thirteen appointed members: one be appointed by...each borough president of the city of New York; ...and eight...members to be appointed by the mayor of the city of New York.... The chancellor shall serve as an ex-officio non-voting member of  the city board."
In his decision, Commissioner Steiner,  while acknowledging that education law requires the "board of education" should make the request  to the commissioner for the superintendent's certificate, the provision must be read in the context of the changes made  in 2002 by the Legislature in the governance of the NYC Schools. Chapter 91 of the laws enacted on June 14, 2002, transferred from the Board of Education to the Mayor of the City of New York, the authority to appoint the chancellor of the New York City Schools and also made the chancellor directly accountable to the mayor at whose pleasure the chancellor serves (Chapter 91 of the Laws of 2002 s12 (see also chapter 345 of the laws of 2009) In light of these provisions (mayoral control) it is proper that the Mayor present the application for a school district leader certificate be made by the Mayor."
The Mayor may have the authority to appoint the chancellor at whose pleasure the individual serves but the request for the certificate has to conform to the education law that stipulates it has to be made by the board of education "continued" as well by the Legislature. The Mayor can appoint whomever he wants but this procedure must be followed though only as legal technicality to comply with the law.
In his Decision to grant the waiver, State Education Commissioner, 

Steiner wrote:
"In the Matter of the application of the Mayor of the City of New York for the issuance of Cathleen P. Black of a certificate for service as a school district leader.

Instead should read:
"In the matter of the request of the Board of Education City of New York or (Panel for Educational Policy) for the issuance of Cathleen P. Black  a certificate for service as a school district leader."
And, it might sound "proper" to Commissioner Steiner, but the law requires the board of education to request the certificate not the mayor though he's empowered through mayoral control legislation to appoint the chancellor (notwithstanding he complies  with education and certificate requirements, as well as,  Equal Employment Opportunity laws) to serve at his pleasure.

Mrs. Cathie Black to be appointed NYC Schools Chancellor whether she is qualified or not, the procedures in the statutes must be adhered to and followed in order for her appointment to be a legal one.
Thus, the Board of Education though diminished powers and role is still intact or "continued" through legislation (2002, 2009) it must make the request for the certificate on behalf of the Mayor. 

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Whitney Tilson (3rd background)

Whitney Tilson (3rd background)
"Let’s be honest: we need a lot more well-off, well-educated white folks with a personal stake in both charter schools and education reform in general if we’re going to take reform to the next level, both politically and operationally.Whitney Tilson, hedge fund manager and major funding angel for the school privatizing Democrats for Education Reform, thinks there’s not enough rich, educated white folks.( Preaprez) click photo to his blog.

Arne Duncan

Arne Duncan
U.S. Secretary of Education, click photo